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My Books of 2021

For me, this year has seen some amazing additions to existing series from some of my favourite authors. There have also been some great debuts from authors who I cannot wait to see what they write next.

In no particular order…

The Appeal by Janice Hallett

I was a bit late to the party with this one but it was definitely worth the wait! Told through a series of emails and text messages, this totally immersive book invites the reader to solve the crime. I can see why this has been a best seller.


The Devil’s Advocate by Steve Cavanagh

The latest in the Eddie Flynn series is another fantastic read, this time dealing with a potential miscarriage of justice and some of the most corrupt authority figures you’re likely to come across!


The Art of Death by David Fennell

A gripping serial killer book with more than a touch of the macabre. This is the first in the series, the second, See No Evil, is due to be published in April 2022.

Darkness Falls by Robert Bryndza

The third in the Kate Marshall series is probably my favourite to date. A serial killer has been operating for a number of years but nobody has made the connection until the private detectives are asked to investigate the disappearance of a journalist.


Stolen Ones by Angela Marsons

Another fantastic read from one of my favourite authors. Kim Stone has to keep her frustrations in check when a child goes missing and a man turns up at the police station knowing more about it than he is letting on.


When the Evil Waits by M J Lee

After the ending of the previous book in the series, I couldn’t wait to read this one and I was not disappointed! Ridpath finds himself investigating the case of a child killer while having to come to terms with major events in his own life.


Twisted Lies by Angela Marsons

A particularly gruesome addition to the Kim Stone series sees the detective investigating the murder of a tortured man and the disappearance of his family.


Lying Ways by Rachel Lynch

Easily my favourite of the series so far, this explosive fast-paced plot had me on the edge of my seat. If you haven’t read any of the Kelly Porter books yet, I highly recommend them.


The Foundlings by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

The latest in the Morton Farrier series sees the forensic genealogist investigating a case very close to home. I loved the use of DNA evidence to solve the case.


The Bodies at Westgrave Hall by Nick Louth

I like a locked room mystery and this murder is the ultimate example of this! A murder takes place but CCTV evidence shows that no one entered the room and no one left.


Have any of these featured on your list?




Monthly Round Up – February 2021

The second month of the year is over and there’s hope that, with regards to the pandemic, there’s light at the end of what seems to have been a very long tunnel. With limited things to do, books have definitely been essential for many during this latest lockdown.

Books I Have Read

Alone in the Woods by Charly Cox

When a teenager arrives home to find her parents have been murdered, her own life, and that of her friend, is put in danger when they realise that the killer is still in the house. This, the third case for Detective Alyssa Wyatt, was one of the books I was most looking forward to this year and I was definitely not disappointed.

Death at Rainbow Cottage by Jo Allen

When the body of a man is discovered in a seemingly motiveless attack, DCI Jude Satterthwaite finds himself investigating a complex case where he must expose hidden secrets to get to the truth.

The Empty House by Arthur Conan Doyle

This children’s adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story by Stephanie Baudet is true to the original plot and is a great way of introducing Conan Doyle to younger readers. Great illustrations enhance the book.


The Bodies at Westgrave Hall by Nick Louth

The seventh DCI Craig Gillard book is one of my favourites to date with the detective investigating the deaths of Russian oligarchs, finding his work hindered by the secret services. If you haven’t read this series yet, I can recommend it highly.

The Chester Creek Murders by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

A fascinating story of a specialist company in Salt Lake City who use ancestry DNA to help the police with cold case murders. This is the first in a series and I can’t wait to read what comes next after being introduced to the varied lives of the main characters.

A young boy’s body is found in a meadow beside the River Mersey. No DNA. No witnesses. No clues. It brings back painful memories of the Moors Murderers.

Books I Have Acquired


A child’s body in an unmarked grave. A killer waiting to strike again.

A young boy’s body is found in a meadow beside the River Mersey. No DNA. No witnesses. No clues. It brings back painful memories of the Moors Murderers.

After two weeks, the police have made no progress finding the killer. The one thing they do know; he will kill again. It is a race against time – and they are losing.

DI Thomas Ridpath has just returned to work. Diagnosed with PTSD and undergoing supervised psychological therapy, he is dragged into the case against his better judgement. When another child is kidnapped, Ridpath must confront his own demons to stop a killer before he strikes again.


September, 1939. The moon shines silver on the looming yew trees. Thinking of her fiancé, fighting for his life and country in the war, breaks Eleanor’s heart, but also gives her courage. She takes a deep breath, picks up her camera, and follows the dancing lights into the maze.

Present day. With her little brother Missing in Action, gardener Megan Taylor runs from her grief to take a job at Foxfield Hall – a centuries-old place full of myths and folklore – restoring the wild maze in the overgrown gardens. Throwing herself into shaping the tangled ivy, Megan soon becomes drawn into the mystery of Lady Eleanor Fairfax, the Hall’s most famous resident… the villagers say she disappeared without trace at the Harvest Festival in 1939, leaving behind a grieving father and a heartbroken fiancé.

Leafing through delicate old newspaper cuttings and gazing at an ornately framed portrait of the missing woman, Megan is full of questions. Although no body was ever found, could Eleanor have been murdered? Did she run away, unwilling to marry the man who loved her? Or, with her father working at the War Office, did Eleanor stumble upon a secret she shouldn’t have?

Then, one night under a full moon, a mesmerising light inexplicably draws her to the entrance of the maze. Megan is filled with a strange certainty that, if she follows it into the shadows, it will lead to the truth about Eleanor… but could Megan herself be the next occupant of Foxfield Hall to be lost forever?


My current read is When the Evil Waits by M J Lee – something I’ve been desperate to read after the ending of the previous book in the series. I’m enjoying it so far, as I would expect from this great series.

The Bodies at Westgrave Hall by Nick Louth

Local residents are not happy when Russian oligarch, Alexander Volkov, buys the historic Westgrave Hall, but are intrigued enough to visit when he throws a party for 1000 guests. While giving a private tour of the library, however, Volkov is shot dead, along with two other men. Knowing that he doesn’t have long before the local police are ousted by the security services, DCI Craig Gillard, is struggling to find evidence to show what actually happened. CCTV shows no one entering or leaving the library, everyone appears to have an alibi and the murder weapon is nowhere in sight. Is this a professional hit or the result of a love triangle? With the security services breathing down his neck, Gillard finds himself involved in his most prolific case to date.


I love a good ‘locked room’ mystery and in The Bodies at Westgrave Hall, Nick Louth has brought this genre bang up to date with a crime that is definitely of its time while still keeping you perplexed as to how the murders could have happened. In recent times, we have seen poisoning cases involving the likes of the Skripals and Alexei Navalny becoming worldwide news so the deaths of Russian oligarchs, albeit by a different method, is very topical. We are left, initially, to wonder whether politics are at play in the deaths or whether it is simply a case of old enemies finally calling time on their differences. I had my theories throughout, but found myself blindsided at the end, angry with myself for disregarding a piece of information that I had originally felt would prove to be important!


The plot is a complex one, showing how difficult it is for the police to mount an operation when there are other agencies involved, in this case the security services. The sheer size of the house also made it difficult for the police, meaning that they had to prioritise evidence, potentially missing clues which may prove to be useful. Although it was complex, I found the plot easy to follow, and felt it definitely had a ‘real time’ feel to it, as we saw the investigation unfold over the Christmas period.


As well as the characters we have got to know in previous books, Nick Louth has created a superb supporting cast in The Bodies at Westgrave Hall, some definitely more likeable than others. My favourite character had to be the man with a name that was so unpronounceable, he was known as Wolf. I once knew someone who learned English from watching episodes of Scooby Doo so I found Wolf’s Only Fools and Horses take on the English language hysterical. “Lovely bubbly!” as Wolf (not Del Boy) would say!

I’ve loved all of the Craig Gillard series, but I think I can safely say that this is one of my favourites to date. An engaging plot, superb characterisation and a mystery that keeps you guessing right until the end… hopefully it won’t be too long before we see what happens next to the Chief Inspector.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC.

Take a look at my reviews for the rest of this series:

The Body in the Marsh

The Body on the Shore

The Body in the Mist

The Body in the Snow

The Body Under the Bridge

The Body on the Island


Monthly Round Up – January 2021

January is over and we’re still stuck in the middle of a pandemic. I’m finding it’s taking me quite a while to read books at the moment so I’ve been trying to focus on some of the books I am reading for blog tours. Luckily, they are all books that I’ve been looking forward to reading!

Books I Have Read

Inside 10 Rillington Place by Peter Thorley

I have always been interested in the Christie/Evans murders that took place at 10 Rillington Place and this book gives a great insight into what went on at this house of horrors. Written by the brother of Beryl Evans, one of the victims, I found this a fascinating recount of the events and one that certainly gave me food for thought.

Silent Voices by Patricia Gibney

The ninth book in the Lottie Parker series sees the detective taking on one of her most complex murder cases to date whilst also having to contend with her upcoming nuptials to her colleague, Boyd. My review will feature as part of the blog tour.

The Art of Death by David Fennell

It may only be January but I think that this may feature on my favourites list at the end of the year. An ‘artist’ is displaying his work in London, but this is no ordinary exhibition: the installations feature the bodies of dead people. My review will feature as part of the upcoming blog tour.


The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

Thirteen books in and this series is still one of my favourites! Forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway is back at the university but it’s not long before she is called upon by Nelson to help with the discovery of a body on the beach. Just what links the archaeologist group known as the Night Hawks to the death and is there really any truth in the local legend of the Black Shuck? Ruth Galloway at her best!


Hammer Blow by John Nixon

The latest in the Madeleine Porter series sees the genealogist taking on a case on behalf of a local solicitor, opening a can of worms when she reveals that a long-lost relative has left a client a sizable amount of money. With someone determined to avenge the past, can Madeleine help to close the case before they get their wish?


Books I Have Acquired

The sudden appearance of a man’s booted feet had Addis snapping her mouth shut. Screaming, she kicked out at the tall, muscular guy as he dragged her from beneath the desk…

It was a scene from a horror movie; Gabriel Kensington and his wife Lydia found, brutally slain in their luxurious home in New Mexico. The frantic, whispered phone call from their teenage daughter Addis, spending the evening with best friend Emerson, quickly alerts the authorities to the killings – and worse, that the killer is still inside the house.

But when detective Alyssa Wyatt and the squad appear at the house, the unthinkable has happened – the girls are nowhere to be found.

Waking up in a dilapidated cabin, nestled high in the woods north of Albuquerque, the girls find themselves at the mercy of a brutal stranger who could take their life at any moment. While they fight for survival, it’s up to Alyssa Wyatt and her partner Cord to discover just why the Kensingtons have been targeted – and fast.

Because for Addis and Emerson, solving this mystery might just mean the difference between survival – or an unthinkable death…


On a quiet street, one house is burning to the ground…

By the time sign language interpreter Paige Northwood arrives, flames have engulfed her client’s home. Though Lukas is safe, his wife is still inside. But she was dead before the fire started…

Lukas signs to Paige that he knows who killed his wife. But then he goes silent – even when the police arrest him on suspicion of murder.

Is he guilty, or afraid? Only Paige can help him now…




 A large country mansion. A locked room. A gruesome murder.

Russian oligarch Alexander Volkov has invited 1000 guests to a party at his palatial Surrey residence, Westgrave Hall. But while giving a private tour of the library, a gunman kills Volkov, wounding his ex-wife and slaying her new beau.

Nothing makes sense to DCI Craig Gillard. In the blood-spattered crime scene there are no forensic traces of anyone else involved, CCTV shows no one entered or left the library, and everyone seems to have an alibi.

Is it a crime of revenge, the squaring of a love triangle, or a Russian government operation? Could the victims have simply shot each other? Gillard’s eventual discovery is shocking even to him.


My current read is Alone in the Woods by Charly Cox. I’ve loved the previous two books in the series and this one is shaping up to be just as good!


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